Catnip Cowl

Summer has the magical power of both slogging by day after day in the humidity and blinding sunlight, yet also somehow whooshes by so quickly you wonder what happened to July and August. You suddenly find yourself in the back-to-school aisle at Target, your cart laden with folders, notebooks, glue sticks, and crayons and shake your head in wonder to find yourself right back where you were a year ago. Is a whole new school year starting again already?

This summer I was up to my usual tricks, knitting madly away preparing for fall and winter releases. I always add in new designs in here and there, but when school is about to let out in June, I gather my lists and sketches, look at the yarn I want to work with, do my math, draw my charts, pull my needles, and get knitting. Summer slips by every year and I like to have a hefty pile of new knits to share when fall begins.


This summer I knit by the community pool, on my back patio, in the car while doing our annual drive up to New Hampshire, on the hiking trail when we stopped for a quick break, with my knitting group, always in bed at night while watching Netflix, and any time I could grab a few minutes to get some stitches worked. I may have been sunburned, covered in mosquito bites, and have a lapful of wool, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I always bring my knitting with me. Don't you?

I absolutely love working with local dyers (and we are lucky to have a lot of them in the DC Metro area). I met Kim from Kim Dyes Yarn at a fiber festival after a mutual knitting friend told us we should meet. I had taken both of my children with me to this festival, and my son found her first, drawn like a moth to the flame to the sparkle yarn. What can I say? He is his mother's child. After choosing 2 lovely shades of Sugar Cookies Sparkle Sock in Ziggy Stardust and Lady Mary (plus a hank my son picked out for me to make him some socks with), I had an idea for this twinkling yarn by the time we pulled out of the parking lot.


Meet the first new pattern for my fall/winter collection, the Catnip Cowl! I've been inspired by cats before (remember the popular Bad Kitty Cowl?) and this cowl was an ode to my long-gone favorite sparkle-loving cat, Igby. The combination of cats and waves of catnip make this an eye-catching, fun-to-knit design for any cat lover. It's playful with a bit of a Where's Waldo vibe, and designed so no floats need to be trapped.

The thing about cowls - and there are a LOT of new TanisKnits cowl designs coming your way shortly - is they are a universal perfect gift. Everyone has a neck, if you're off-gauge a bit, it shouldn't matter too much, you can make them as long/short/tall/wide as you want, they're significantly harder to lose than a scarf, and they are always appreciated. As a knitter, they're something smallish and easy to grab when you're heading out the door to tuck in your bag in case you get a free knitting moment. This cowl is designed to loop twice around your neck, but make it even longer for three loops around, or shorter for just one loop. I don't always have time to invest in a sweater or large shawl, but cowls are doable and a good way to learn a new technique.


Starting with a provisional cast on, this easy Fair Isle chart works up quickly on fingering weight on US 2 knitting needles. The entire cowl is knit in the round, then kitchenered at the end. There's some garter stripes here and there for added texture, and it'd be cute to do each chart repeat in 2 new colors or change up the background and foreground while keep the other the same. You certainly don't have to use sparkle yarn, but the world is a better place when we sparkle! Kim is at all sorts of festivals this fall, including one of my favorites that we hit every year, the Shenandoah Fiber Festival. Stop by her booth to see the cowl and pick your own colors, or snag a kit all ready to go!


I have so much more to share with you (I have also been on a serious Fair Isle mitten kick) and will be back to regularly blogging now that 1 of 2 kids are in school.

Download the Catnip Cowl here. Meow!